If you're heading off on your travels, or just fancy a spot of armchair tourism, a visit to On The Grid City will open your eyes to a world of good stuff. It's a city guide created by designers for designers, and anyone else interested in the idiosyncratic places that give cities their own distinct character. With ambassadors in most of the major cities, and a team of hand-picked curators taking care of the boroughs within, it's rapidly becoming a vital global resource. We caught up with founder and head honcho at NYC agency Hyperakt, Deroy Peraza, to find out how On The Grid City became a reality.
We love On The Grid City here at Grafik. How did the idea first come about, and how did you go about actually making it happen?
Thanks...We love seeing how it has grown. The idea came up in September of 2014 as we were about to move our studio down the street from our Brooklyn home of ten years in Carroll Gardens to Gowanus. Eric Fensterheim, one of our designers at the time, had the idea of creating a guide of all the hidden gems in the neighbourhood to commemorate our move and try some things our clients probably wouldn’t let us try design-wise.
We designed it and built most of it that month, but then between the move and the holiday rush, we got super-busy. We didn’t get back to it until March of this year. We sprinted on it for a few weeks, designed some branding, ironed out the bugs, photographed and wrote about the places in our neighbourhood and put it out into the world in mid-April. By May we had a few other studios – early believers – ready to launch their neighbourhoods. By July, we launched the first neighbourhood in our second city, Los Angeles. From there on out, people started reaching out wanting to get involved.
You can read more about this here.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Designing the site backwards was an interesting one. When we launched we just had one neighbourhood – Gowanus, Brooklyn, where Hyperakt is based – so our homepage was the neighbourhood landing page. The city landing page for New York was next, giving you access to multiple neighbourhoods in one city. Lastly, the world landing page, giving you access to multiple cities, was added.
Handling the massive amounts of communication that managing a community of this size requires a high level of organisation. There are a lot of logistics in play and over 100 shared spreadsheets that we use to communicate with all of our Ambassadors. It’s a lot.